Monday 19 October 2020

Hard work pays off as Marklund claims podium in Barcelona thriller.

PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition.
Anton Marklund says Bilstein's hard work has paid off at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona after a challenging first half of the season. 

With a glimpse of pace in the season opener in Holjes, Marklund appeared to be a regular contender for a spot in the finals, but unfortunately, as the season progressed he would only be a regular in the semi-finals. 

Following on from the Latvian double-header in September, Bilstein and GC Kompetition studied data, conducted some tests, and found some good improvements. 

And, while testing results can bring some high expectations, GCK Bilstein were on the money in Barcelona with Anton just missing out on a place in the finals by 1 second on Saturday afternoon. After round seven, the Swede admitted that with some overnight fine-tuning he could claim a good result on Sunday. 

The GCK driver started his first qualifier on Sunday morning on the outside (of turn one) alongside Timo Scheider, Tamas Karai, and Niclas Gronholm.

Fourth through the first corner wasn't the best way to start the day, but he chased down the leader, and with an alternate strategy, he jokered on the last lap and powered alongside Timo Scheider who defended the inside line blocking Marklund and he would finish in P3 (10th overall). 

The second qualifier saw Marklund drop into second behind Scheider having been squeezed into turn 1. He gained position into second on lap 3 before overtaking Timo Scheider on the last lap to take the chequered flag, moving up seventh overall.

For the final qualifier, he started on pole, and while Gronholm and Timerzyanov had a much better launch he fought back to take the lead on lap 3 and he hung on from there to cross the checkered flag and stamp his pass into the semi-finals. 

Starting from the second row of semi-final 2, Anton had a clean start and took the inside line slotting into third after turn 1. He maintained the position and pushed ahead to create enough distance to join the pack in fourth following his joker in lap 3. He crossed the final line in third, which meant he would have a third-row spot on the grid for the final.

With no new tyres for the final, he was at a slight disadvantage, and with a reasonable start, he managed to avoid the first corner melee involving GCK stablemate Andreas Bakkerud and Robin Larsson to slot into P3. With a first lap joker, he was right on the rear of Ekstrom and began pilling on pressure. As Ekstrom spun off the track, Marklund claimed third where he would finish, successfully claiming his first podium of the 2020 season with GCK Bilstein. 

"I’m really really happy for all of GCK and Bilstein," Marklund said. "While I was at home trying to relax and doing analysis in between races, they’ve worked super hard at the workshop and the factory to bring us a race-ready car with significant improvements since Finland RX."

"I’m just so happy that they’ve made it work and they now have a car that races extremely well and is fully back on pace. We just have to build on this now and we have a race win in us still." 

Written By - Junaid Samodien

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